Photo shoot

Over the last few days I have sorted through hundred’s of litter items collected across the littoral zones  of  over 20 beaches  on the west coast and more recently Shetland to select 40 items identified  with Dr Cowie  two weeks ago for possible inclusion in the Guide to Beach Litter.

trays litter items

My aim is to select the ‘best’ samples that are representational of what might be found on the beach.

set up seaweed cropped
So far 20 items have been photographed  each item being  shot multiple times on a selection of settings to ensure I achieve the best image possible. The items will be  digitally ‘cut out’ and positioned on the Guide layout . My aim is that the Guide should echo the  natural history field guides where the species are collaged together on each page.

positioning items processing images

But before the processing can begin there are another 20 items to choose, group together, position, reposition and photograph.


I estimate that the ‘Guide to Beach Litter’ will cost £3,000 to produce. £1,100 has been pledged  which will cover the photographing , processing and layout of the work . I still need to raise  £1,900 to  cover the printing  – ideas of how to raise this would be much appreciated.   Many thanks.

Donations to the project can be made through Paypal  check out how to do this on the Sponsorship page.

Celebrating – World Environment Day

To celebrate World Environment Day #WED2015 today I crossed the Clyde for a meeting with marine biologist Dr Phillip Cowie at the Millport Field Study Centre FSC on Cumbrae to begin to map out the ‘Guide to Beach Litter’.

Fairly beach  ferry toCumbrae
We began by making a long list of 40 commonly seen litter items, trying to cover items made of different materials , coming from a range of different sources, i.e. originating from the land , the sea and whether they are from commercial or beach users. I will circulate this list around groups such as the Marine Conservation Society  Shetland Dunna Chuck Bruck group and other organisations /groups cleaning beaches around the Scottish coast to see if the list is representational . If anyone reading this list feels I should consider including an item I have not listed that they see in significant numbers please get in touch – use the comment box below or e mail

Long list
PLASTIC 1. fibres 2. bottles 3. Gunwads/cartridges 4. Ropes 5.Food wrappers 6.Mussel pegs 7. String /cord 8. Caps/lids 9.barrels 10. Wipes 11.cigarette lighters 12. Drinking straws 13. Work gloves nets/pieces line 16. Melted plastic rocks 17.Strapping bands 18.Plastic pieces 19.Bags 20. Pack Yokes 21. Syringes 22. Pellets/nurdles 23.cotton bud sticks 24.tampon applicators 25.sanitary ware strips
POLYSTYRENE /STYRENE 26..Polystyrene pieces 27.Foam
METAL 28.Aerosol cans 29.Drinks cans 30.BBQ disposable 31. Scrap metal 32.Batteries 33.Foil food containers
RUBBER 34.Balloons 35.Tyres WOOD 36.Pallets/crate GLASS 37.Bottles CERAMIC 38.pottery   OTHER 39. Tarmac 40. Concrete

Millport visit 2  Millport Notes

Our conversation on litter items ranged widely interestingly discussing the least hazardous materials first – glass and ceramics – which once they have been rounded with the wave action they pose a relatively small hazard to marine organisms the wider environment and ourselves. From here we launched into the plastic abyss and we noted down the vast array of hazards they pose to all organisms including our selves touching on the research studies now taking place of the effects of plastics if/when eaten by us in seafood.

Strapping black Burwick  DSCF9521 Plastic bag scottish CU Burn beach melted rope
The plastic items will undoubtedly make up the biggest section on the guide, as more and more items like work gloves we call ‘rubber gloves’ are now commonly made out plastic. A reflection of the plastic nature of our world . Clear images of the litter items, like the one below will be used in the Guide with simple descriptions which will include usual dimensions and the material/s

Plastic Rock
This #WED2015 has been a wonderfully positive day thanks to donations given in response to my Crowd Funding appeal last month.

The next step is to raise the remaining money needed. So far £675 has been received and this will cover the photography work and first draft of the text , the remaining pledged money (another £530 ) will cover the consultation process, editing, design and layout work. I am still looking to raise £1,800 to print the Guide, please get in touch with any suggestions.
New and pledged donations can be made through PayPal using the project email address press ‘pay for goods & services’. If in doubt go to the Sponsorship page.  Don’t forget to leave a message if you would like to receive a reward of a Guide or beach litter key ring. Many thanks.      I will keep you all updated on the progress of this piece of artwork.